Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Planetary Video Mixtape #2

My second stab at the concept of a mixtape blog, in which I present some artists/bands I've happily discovered, but that haven't garnered much attention in the U.S., yet. The catch: I pick five, but only one of them can originate from within the United States. Enjoy!

Father Tiger. From their website: Father Tiger is a modern indie synthpop duo with a love of vintage analog synthesizers and everything mid-century modern. Having grown up on opposite ends of Los Angeles county, members Greg Delson and John Russell now both reside in Hollywood, where they met in 2005 at audio engineering school.

John Russell (left) and Greg Delson (right) are Father Tiger.
I accidentally discovered them last December when they released their second EP, Winter Solstice. It contained a terrific tune entitled "On Christmas Day," but the real pop gem of the collection is "Head Hung Low." Fortunately, it's been released as a single with a knockout video. Also, Delson delivers the chorus at fever pitch, so here are the lyrics in case you miss a line.

Well enough is enough 
I may have broken your heart
But I never did anything to rip it apart
Told you my doubts right from the start and oh
I never cheated or messed around 
Or spread my love all over town
I gave you my all baby that's a fact
Please tell me what's so bad about that
I know that you're sad that it's over but even so
I'm tired of walking with my head hung low
With my head hung low

Frightened Rabbit. They've been around since 2003, but I only discovered this Glasgow, Scotland band last year as they gradually released singles from their fourth studio album, Pedestrian Verse. The restrained urgency of their folk-rock style has really grown on me.

Frightened Rabbit (lead singer Scott Hutchison is on the left)
Their music videos always veer off in some unexpected direction, and this one for "Backyard Skulls" is no exception. How great would it be to have Frightened Rabbit perform at your homecoming dance or prom? Well, at least one person at this high school likes the idea.

Japandroids. I discovered this Canadian duo last year when they released their second album, Celebration Rock. The "semi-factual promotional biography" on their website claims that "Japandroids are maximal -- a two-piece band trying to sound like a five-piece band" with "the boys ripping off too many different bands to sound like any other duo making music right now."

Japandroids -- David Prowse (left) and Brian King (right)
And here's the video for their damn fine rock anthem, "The House That Heaven Built," a song that's been named the entrance theme for the Vancouver Canucks professional ice hockey team.

Dry the River. If you've been paying attention at all the last few years, you already know that folk-rock has made a huge resurgence the last few years -- and the best of it (to me, at least) is coming out of the UK.  London's Dry the River released their debut album, Shallow Bed, in 2012, and it's a shimmering mix of spiritual/religious imagery, tribal grooves, melancholy nostalgic glow and boisterous shifts in mood.

Dry the River
Here's the hauntingly peculiar video for "No Rest," one of the best tracks on the album.

Passenger. In the early part of the last decade, UK's Passenger was a critically acclaimed five-piece band. But when the members chose to go their separate ways in 2007, singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg opted to stick with the Passenger moniker and do his own thing.

Passenger, aka Mike Rosenberg
He sounds a little bit like the love child of Cat Stevens and Macy Gray, and his earnest, world-weary music has a certain charm and discernable streak of optimism that may bother folks who prefer their angst straight up. I had trouble deciding which video to show you, but finally settled on this live performance video of a fan favorite, "I Hate," from his latest album, All the Little Lights. Even nice guys can be cheeky bastards sometimes.

Peace out,